On a recent evening, I took myself to Bat Night at Olompali State Historic Park here in Marin. Most of the attendees were families with kids, but there were quite a few curious unaccompanied adults (like me) in the crowd.

The kids had a great time, making bat masks, watching a film about bats, and running around exuberantly.

An expert in bat rescue brought some of her charges for us to observe up close—bats that can’t be released back into the wild because of injuries or other problems. Everyone ooh’d and aah’d over these little ambassadors who showed people just how adorable these creatures actually are.

As twilight descended, the colony of bats that live in the back of the visitor center began to emerge, foraging for dinner and delighting the crowd of onlookers.

Some fun facts:

There are more than 1,000 species of bats in the world.

Female bats only give birth to one pup per year

Pallid bats can consume up to 1,000 mosquitos per hour.

Hundreds of fruit species depend on bats for pollination.

Scientists estimate that bats are worth more than $3.7 billion a year in reduced crop damage and pesticide use.

You can help these amazing creatures by putting up a bat house in your garden. Be sure to locate it in a spot that’s appropriate to the type of bats that live in your area. Learn more here.